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Vicore Fitness wants you to be off-balance on a weight bench

Getting off-balance is picking up steam as a way to gain better fitness. So one new company, Vicore Fitness, is taking the concept to weight and training benches. SNEWS got an early look.

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Weight-training and ab-strengthening benches haven’t changed much since, well, their inception. Different materials, different padding, different locking mechanisms … that about sums it up.

But all it takes is a questioning mind, the person who asks, “Why not this?” or “Why that?” to change the way others do something.

That’s what birthed Vicore Fitness (, a fledgling company that has snuck onto the market and will debut its equipment to retailers for the first time at the Health & Fitness Business Expo, in Las Vegas, Sept. 14-16, 2011. Before that, on July 15, the company launches its first three commercial products.

The founders of Vicore said they were in the gym doing the treadmill trot while watching others working out in the weight room. They noticed each person had a different routine, but nobody used the stability balls, unless they were with a trainer. So they asked a trainer what was up.

“People are afraid they’ll fall off and look stupid,” the trainer said, adding that he thought creating instability of some sort was one of the best workouts around.

A few more miles on the treadmill later and the light bulb went on: If that instability is so great why don’t we put it somewhere people will get it all the time without fear of looking stupid?

More than seven years of testing, countless prototypes and 26 pending patents later, Vicore Fitness was born with a current line of three benches (photo, right) and chairs with the seats replaced with what you could call a bubble – like part of an inflatable stability ball.

“It’s fun because it kicks training up to the next level,” said brand manager John Wilson.

“We do not believe there are shortcuts in losing weight, gaining muscle mass or just getting physically fit,” the company’s website explains; “however, that does not mean there are not better ways to do it.”

Although based on the highly touted concepts behind “functional fitness” movements, Wilson said Vicore’s products allow users to take it a step further – combining function with stronger muscles, enhanced balance and better coordination.

“This is a way to get two-for-one,” Wilson said, since a user can lift weights for muscle strength but also be forced to engage the core and trunk for balance training.

Products include:

  • Core Bench (MSRP $ 459), which is bench for weight rooms and training.
  • Core Chair (MSRP $349), which has a seat and a back for seated exercises.
  • Extreme Core Ab Bench (MSRP $489), which trains abdominals at a chosen angle.

The newly released commercial products include the Core Chair Pro (list $675), Core Bench Pro (list $795) and the Extreme Core Ab Pro (list $875), which are sturdier and beefier versions made for higher-use clubs.

“We have enhanced the frame structure with 85 millimeter tubing, doubled the weight capacity, incorporated a three leg frame design for increased stability and added two layers of powder coated, hardened paint,” Wilson said of the commercial line.

In January 2012, Vicore plans to launch two additional products: A reverse hyper-extension piece and an incline/decline bench.

Prism Fitness Group has been helping Vicore with its launch after President Bill Sotis talked to founders at the 2010 Health & Fitness Business show.

“It’s a nice product that has real legs in this business,” Sotis said.

A few retailers are already on board, including Albert Kessler, founder of HEST Fitness in Texas.

“I think Vicore has reinvented the (bench) pad,” Kessler said. “We have his benches and have been having meeting’s with personal trainers. They really like them for core training and comfort and say they are a lot safer than using the ball when training with dumbbells.

“I see his pads on home gym machines, free weight pieces, all kinds of places,” Kessler said. “It just adds more core and muscle involvement and comfort.”

Added Kessler, “We really haven’t seen a new product come our way in a long time.”

Therese Iknoian